July 21st, 2014
Last Friday, Uber, a ride-sharing program delivered through a mobile application, offered something out of the ordinary, ice cream. UberIceCream was available in 144 cities (38 countries on 6 continents) and allowed Uber users to request ice cream to be delivered to them. All costs are paid through the mobile app that users set up ahead of time, so there is no worry about how to pay.
Uber, and its fuzzy pink mustached competitor Lyft, has not been available in Omaha long. And, like in other cities, there has been some controversy that is not yet fully resolved. I have happily used both services. But, on Friday I wanted to have ice cream delivered and be part of a global event.
The deal in Omaha was between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm and five ice creams could be delivered for $20. Four dollars an ice cream is on the high end, but it is delivered and the sheer novelty was inspiring. At 11, I started trying to order my ice cream. The app needed a few extra minutes to finish activating the ice cream cone icon and by 11:05 I had ordered. I immediately received a phone call to verify my location and I headed outside for what was next.
An actual ice cream truck pulled up! No songs were playing, but Uber had recruited ice cream trucks in Omaha to deliver whatever ice cream my heart could desire. I don’t actually eat ice cream, so I requested five of their most popular item and got those cones of vanilla with chocolate and nuts on top. It was easy for me to find other office tummies to file the treats.
I was actually their first delivery of the day. For ordering, I received a t-shirt and was allowed to take photos of the truck. It was great fun.
This was the third year for Uber to have an ice cream day. In 2012, the event happened in only seven cities in the United States. Uber was a bit smaller then. The entire purpose is for publicity and it works. The conversation was active on Twitter (#UberIceCream) and many online news outlets wrote about the offering, but no one in Omaha.
I’m glad I got to be part of the day. Rumor has it that other delivery services could be on the horizon for Uber in the near future. For example, in NYC, UberRush offers messenger pick up and delivery. What is in store for Omaha? I can’t wait to find out.